Where are the centre parties?

A wonderful opportunity for the centre ground in NI politics is going a-begging. Why can’t the so-called parties of the centre see it? What the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance party ought to do together or in any combination is to say now: the extremist parties the DUP and Sinn Fein are too far apart to hack it. We always told you so. Here are our ideas for sorting out P&J, Irish Language act, the stadium etc.

You could write the road map in an hour. Don’t wait for another Downing St circus, sink your petty differences, do it yourselves. Gloating at Sinn Fein like
this is unhelpful and dangerous. Don’t be tempted, avoid negative, go positive. For far too long, the centre parties have chosen to remain prisoners of the last election result. They’ve dithered all summer playing the opposition game, wasting months bemoaning the behaviour the two opposite poles. Wrong game. They should realise the system they signed up to is all about government, not opposition.

It’s still not too late. Now’s your chance. David Ford has at least been tipping his toe in and out like paddling in the Atlantic. It’s not good enough, it’s a bit pathetic. Time to plunge in, no don’t wait- jump together. If you can’t see the open goal, ( to mix metaphors) you won’t deserve votes again. It’s late but not too late.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

donate to keep slugger lit